Category Archives: politics

Olympics part 3 – Backsides, bottoms and bums

Before you get hot under the collar about all the pictures of backsides, bottoms and bums – not to mention the odd crotch – please keep in mind that this is an important feminist argument, relevant to sports fans, Olympic watchers, media workers and er… you.

Also, I stole it all from Nate Jones at www.metro.us. A lazy flicher, that’s me. But think of this larceny as homage to his piece (ooer madam).

It was so effective, I thought you deserved to see it all. And I mean all! (But don’t worry . It is safe to read the rest at the office. As long as you’re willing to risk outbreaks of female giggling, some loud whooping and a dip in productivity.)

What if every Olympic sport was photographed like beach volleyball? (by Nate Jones) Continue reading

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So that’s what happened to the KGB

The KGB? They haven’t gone away you know.

But they’ve ended up in the most unexpected places. You’ll never guess Continue reading

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Is it time to see more breastfeeding in public?

Image credit: “Yo Mama” breastfeeding her daughter while sitting with her teammates from the Anarchy Angels Roller Derby Team (photo by Russ Desaulniers) via Avital Norman Nathman.

Is it time to see more breastfeeding in public?

As it’s a good, healthy and natural thing – though not easy for every woman – the answer has to be yes.

Anything or anyone trying to discourage or make uncomfortable a breastfeeding mother strikes me – as Mr T would say – as a crazy fool. As with that TV show you hate – you don’t have to watch.

And as Helen Lovejoy reminds us – Won’t somebody please think of the children? It’s for their good.

So in the spirit of support and encouragement, here are some inspired breastfeeding pictures. They’re from the Blue Milk blog (thinking + Continue reading

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Partial Truths & Organised Forgetting (A Right of Reply)

Christine and two out of three of her children. (Lovely picture.)

Ever wanted a right to reply? Here’s one… A few months ago I published a post called How to come back from being burned at the stake. One reader, Christine Kalume, felt so strongly about what I had written and what had been said in the comments that she wanted to respond at length. I agreed and here is her response.

First a reminder. The original story was pegged to the row that erupted after a newspaper feature asked whether the southern English town of Lewes was racist. The white journalist is in a marriage to a black woman and has mixed race children. He listed perceived slights and discrimination. Some people in Lewes were very offended at what they saw as a slur on their community. They even went so far as to burn an effigy of the journalist David James Smith at their annual bonfire – putting him in the company of the Pope and politicians.

David James Smith and his family

So far, so inflammatory. But what appealed to me about the whole business, was what happened next. Rather than running, hiding, moving house or lashing out, David James Smith bravely took part in an open meeting with his critics, the better to discuss the issues he had raised. You’ll find details about all that in my original post.

It was great to have responses  from David James Smith himself and some very long considered comments from others too. But I promised Lewes local Christine Kalume that she could write a guest post on it all, and here it is. So these are her views, not mine. I find them fascinating and enlightening – I hope you do too. But whether you like what she has to say or not, I hope you’ll leave a comment. (It’s quite long, so you’re allowed to leave a comment on just a wee bit of it, or the lovely pictures scattered throughout.)

Who are we? Partial Truths and organised forgetting – by Christine Kalume *

The Sunday Times feature article last year by David James Smith  (DJS)2 on his family’s experiences of racism in the English market town of Lewes sparked some intense debates. Initial responses tended to focus on the pros and cons of the approach taken and points made in the article (like this one by local Lewesian David Bradford). However, the article also opened up a communication space to explore issues linked to racism – and diversity more broadly.

Christine and Tony's wedding day in Nairobi, Kenya

As a Lewesian and someone in a mixed race marriage for whom connections to other cultures and to Africa in particular have been important, I found myself thinking and thinking about some of the issues raised. So when Paul gave me this space on his blog to contribute, I was delighted. I have tried to provide evidence to support some of my points but this is not an academic article. I hope it encourages further discussion ‒ and even contributes in some small way to change Continue reading

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Good news from the London riots

Burning, looting, shooting, rioting, robbing – you can find pictures of all that happening in London and elsewhere in the UK on the TV news or elsewhere on the internet. No need for it here too.

Instead, I have a couple of stories of bravery and people trying to make things better amidst the violence. I’m sure there are many – but here are just a few.

Try not to be put off by the subtitles below…

 The woman in this video is apparently on the streets of Hackney in London. The original police shooting and subsequent arson and rioting began in the Tottenham area. Hackney is one of the areas to which the trouble has spread.

There has been lots of condemnation of the violence from TV and radio studios and the pages of newspapers. This woman is out on the streets face-to-face with the people involved. So that’s brave Continue reading

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Recession books

Oh no! The worldwide credit crunch is now transforming classic literature!

Animal Farm Closure has just been released in a Costcutting Special Edition – with recumbent penguin. Well, the cover has anyway. What would George Orwell make of it?

So what will be next to feel the impact of the recession?

Gullible’s Travels suggests Wuthering Depths.

 Can other famous books be far behind? Continue reading

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Starring Colin Firth as Hugh Grant…

Starring Colin Firth as Hugh Grant, and Mr Bean as...

How’s this for super quick reaction? Hackgate: The Movie.

It’s here. Well – the trailer is anyway. And what a star-studded cast. Colin Firth plays Hugh Grant. Hugh Grant plays… someone else. I forget. Watch the trailer to find out.

There’s an inspired (or too obvious?) casting for the role of Rebekah Brooks. But Ed Miliband and David Cameron – perfect casting choices. (No, I’m not telling you. Watch the Continue reading

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Katy Perry the new Hitler?

Not with that moustache Katy. You've got the uniform down though.

Is Katy Perry the new Hitler?

Maybe I should rephrase that. As you may know, we got famously the last time we met, nose to nose, popstrel to kangaroo. What I should have asked is this: Is Katy Perry’s Hot n Cold the new Downfall? Continue reading

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Phone hacking scandal: Who knew? Loads of us.

Can there any longer be any doubt that News International is a force of evil in the world? (This wasn’t my scheduled subject, but “events dear boy, events.”)

There are all sorts of pictures of perps and victims I could have used to illustrate this - but here's the Murdoch monkey at the top of the tree - the spider at the centre of the web. Unfortunately the bad smell does not come solely from him. There's a strong whiff very much closer to home.

They’re the reason I receive text messages like this:

Hi, I am unable to answer my phone at the moment but if you leave me a message, the News of the World will email it to me later.

 But the appalling behaviour of some journalists is not the most shocking part. What’s really scary is that the omertà of Britain’s press and politicians on phone-hacking amounts to complicity in crime Continue reading

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China: Is it the future of world politics – or not?

Colonel Sanders is looking young - and Chinese - at the opening of a new KFC outlet in Beijing.

It’s well past time that people woke up to China’s role in the world and I don’t just mean noticing “Made in China” on the base of that thing you’ve just bought. (It’s probably from Vietnam or the Philippines these days anyway – or perhaps Madagascar if it’s clothing.) And eating Chinese doesn’t count either.

It’s crazy how tightly schools cling to European languages to the exclusion of Chinese. Sure, Spanish can be number one – it’s on the doorstep, good weather, world language, beautiful songs. But why should Chinese be relegated below French, German, Russian (!), Italian, Latin, Greek, etc?

Then again, there are some people who are in a constant tizzy about the spread of Chinese influence – soft power, economic investment, military infiltration. The panic has reached such intensity in parts of the blogosphere that it reminds me of that old cartoon (anyone know it?) that had Americans imagining that it was Vietnam bordering Texas instead of Mexico. (Though with the low intensity warfare going on in Mexico these days…)

So is China really the future? Is western democracy tired and doomed to go down with the listing economic ship? Have the Chinese actually got it right in terms of development and never mind the niceties of freedom?

Two Continue reading

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